People kept posting on Facebook that they were praying for Glenelg. I was confused. What was going on at Glenelg? What had happened that everyone knew about that I didn't hear yet? I messaged a Facebook friend to ask what was going on, and she told me that Grace McComas was in critical condition at Johns Hopkins for suicide. Instantly my stomach churned and I felt sick. I ran to the toilet and just sat there, covering my mouth, and I started to cry. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Grace...the little girl I'd known pretty much since she was born, who had lived across the street from me my entire life, who went to the same pre-school, elementary school, middle school, and high school as me, who went to church with me, who played at the pool with me, who played in the neighborhood with me...committed suicide??? This couldn't be true. She was only 15. I was sad, sickened, confused. I didn't know what to do, so I called my mom.
My mom, still in Illinois, said that she had already heard the news, and she told me that I needed to tell my dad (who had just gotten home from Illinois). I barged into my parent's bedroom, woke up my dad, and told him what I knew about Grace. I have never in my life seen such a shocked look on his face. He expressed such anguish, as did the rest of us. We were at a loss for words. Grace became an angel. The McComas family lost the sweetest soul that day.
I went to the funeral, and I couldn't compose myself. Funerals are for grandparents and, one day, parents. Never should anyone ever have to bury their child. Ever. I looked at Grace, and I just lost it. The most beautiful girl with the most beautiful soul and free spirit was laying in a casket. She was gone, and she would never be back. It was heart-wrenching for the community, so I can't begin to fathom how the McComas family felt and still feels every day.
The whole community was, and still is, hurting.
Grace suffered a long battle with cyber-bullying from a boy who we'd also grown up with; he was in my class. The reality of a 15-year-old girl taking her life as a result of that bullying also resulted in a lot of positive changes in the community...Grace's Law was created in her honor so that bullies would suffer legal consequences, athletes, politicians, and the McComas family themselves spoke out about bullying and suicide, and Blue For Grace was created...a movement to honor Grace's life by wearing blue, her favorite color, on her birthday and on the anniversary of her death while encouraging everyone to spread kindness (Kindness For Grace) to others on those days and everyday. A beautiful sunflower field was planted in her honor at Larriland Farm.
The Class of 2014 will be wearing blue ribbons at Graduation to honor Grace, who should be walking across that stage with them. Grace was bubbly, beautiful, spunky, and full of exuberance. The world misses her crazy curly hair and her hilarious laugh. She deserves this honor and so much more. She is so missed by so many.
This family is wonderful and beautiful, and no one deserves to experience this kind of pain. The pain of losing a child to cruelty and hatred. It is sad beyond belief.
Rest In Peace Beautiful Angel. You ARE loved.